Another Police killing in the United States: Jamar Clark

Image Source: Tony Webster, Flickr, Creative Commons Police Line / Police Tape

Image Source: Tony Webster, Flickr, Creative Commons
Police Line / Police Tape

Minneapolis, MN (TFC– Monday night, November 16, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota a 24-year-old man died from a gunshot wound to the head. His name is now added to a long list of a thousand people killed by police this year alone. Jamar Clark was shot by Minneapolis Police responding to a woman being assaulted. When police arrived at the scene, a victim was being treated by paramedics. Mr. Clark is said to have been interfering with the paramedics treating the woman. While the officers tried to calm him down, there was a struggle and shots were fired by one of the officers. There are many conflicting stories going around from eye witness reports to the police accounts of what occurred. Witnesses have stated he was handcuffed when he was shot. Police have said initially he was not handcuffed but handcuffs were found at the scene so they are trying to determine if Clark was in fact restrained at the time of the shooting.

This is where it would be extremely helpful to have the body camera and dash camera footage. However, according to BCA Superintendent Drew Evans at a news conference Tuesday the officers involved weren’t wearing body cameras. Evans also said there is no police dash-cam video of the shooting. The Minneapolis police department has cameras in about 60 percent of the vehicles, according to an article written in 2009 regarding a “use of force” case. There are however partial videos, none of which document the entire situation. Evans states that investigators have video from several sources, including an ambulance, a mobile police camera stationed in the area, public housing cameras and citizens’ cellphones. None of these videos will be released during the investigation in an attempt to not influence witnesses. The investigation is said to take around two to four months according to Evans and has been given top priority.

The investigation is being carried out by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the F.B.I. Also, Mayor Betsy Hodges has made a request for a civil rights investigation which the federal agencies have agreed to. The two officer’s names have been released by Minnesota Department of Public Safety. They are officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze. Both have been police officers for seven years, including 13 months with the city.

For several days since the death of Jamar Clark the group, Black Lives Matter, along with hundreds of supporters have taken to the streets in protest. From surrounding the prescient, to blocking Interstate 94, they are demanding the release of the videos. On Monday night during the interstate shut down, more than 50 people were arrested. 8 of them were juveniles. Wednesday night the protests continued and were met with pepper spray and rubber bullets by police in full riot gear assisted by many bicycle cops using bicycles to create a barrier. Updates will be reported as the information develops.